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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Presidency

What was Roosevelt’s position on World War II?

Roosevelt saw the threat that Hitler’s Germany presented to the Western world. While maintaining a position of official neutrality, he reached an understanding with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Germany must be stopped. They issued the Atlantic Charter, which sought to ensure that democracy would flourish and triumph over totalitarian regimes. His leadership—along with that of Churchill and, to a lesser extent, Joseph Stalin of Russia—contributed greatly to the victory of the Allied forces over Germany, Japan, and the other Axis powers.

When Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt showed forceful leadership and resolve in the face of a direct threat to national security and existence. He wrote a memorably evocative appeal to Congress, asking for a declaration of war: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and viciously attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”



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